400 was a lonely number. At least that was the case circa 1836 New York when ex-mayor Philip Hone extended invitations to 250 “gentlemen of social distinction” to join the Union Club, the first private club to grace the streets of the metropolis. Once this cadre was formed, its membership was expanded to 400, coincidentally the capacity of Caroline Schermerhorn Astor’s Fifth Avenue ballroom. Why the cohort was checked at 400 first-generation Masters of the Universe remains an enigma. Less ambiguous were the club’s strictures. Dine, game, drink and puff away – its humidor once housed 100,000 cigars – but don’t think of dancing, a direct affront to the bastion of masculinity.
Danielle DiMartino Booth is CEO and Director of Intelligence at Quill Intelligence LLC
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